How to maintain good posture

Posted on 2015-05-06 22:46:01

Good posture is very key when it comes to maintaining a healthy mind and body. Posture is described as a position in which a person holds his or her body when sitting, standing, or lying down. Practicing proper posture helps joints and bones stay in correct alignment in order that the muscles are correctly used, hence minimizing wear and tear, a scenario that can cause degenerative joint pain. Good posture enables muscles to carry out their function more efficiently, minimizes stress on the ligaments that hold joints together thus reducing the risk of an injury, and also helps prevent common problems like muscles strain, headaches, fatigue, and neck or back pain. In addition, good posture helps boost a person’s self confidence. Having a poor posture can result into unnecessary strain on the postural muscles if they are held in certain positions for a prolonged period of time. For example, people who sit the whole day or demanding tasks such as washing risk injuring their back. Numerous factors may contribute to poor posture. Most people spend about 8 hours a day working. This can cause overloading of certain parts of the body and consequently weakening of others. When some parts of the body are pulled more, the posture tends to shift in that particular direction and this can result into having a poor posture. Poor posture makes muscles tight. Additionally, improper working posture and unhealthy standing and sitting practices can result into poor positioning of the body. Tips on how to develop and maintain good posture Sit up straight. This is especially important for people whose work involves sitting for long hours. Sit with the back supported right on the chair to avoid leaning forward or slouching. Keep the head upright, shoulders straight and squared, and ensure that the neck, back, and heels are in alignment. Keep the knees and legs at 90 degrees level. Do not sit with your legs crossed. If working with a computer, make sure to place it at a level, neither too low nor too high. Never have a computer placed at your side. Have the keyboard placed directly in front of your body. Adjust the monitor properly and place any other reference materials in front of you in such a way that the neck is neutral to avoid turning every now and then. The monitor should be about 2 -3 inches above the level of your eyes. Learn to take breaks. Even if you practice good posture when sitting, it is important that you occasionally take a break to stand up for some minutes, walk, stretch, or perform a slight exercise. After all, the body was not made to sit all day long hence physical activity is essential. When lifting a heavy load ensure to balance it so as to avoid fatigue and stress. When carrying a heavy luggage for example a suitcase or hand bags, change arms often to avoid straining muscles in one side of body. Stretch your body from time to time. Stretching ( for about 10-15 minutes) is as important as exercising and has several benefits such as improving flexibility, reduces risk of injury by getting the muscles ready before an activity and helps in correcting posture by lengthening tight muscles that may have pulled from their original position. Engage in activities such as swimming, yoga, and have a massage to help release tension in the muscles. Use a form roller to stretch tight muscles and fascia (a web-like connective tissue that connects the muscles). Form roll at least twice a week. Ensure to roll on the muscles, not on the bones. Emphasize on the largest areas of the muscle first while applying just a small amount of pressure and then roll slowly. Wear shoes that are at least 2 inches high to avoid risk of back pain. Wearing very high heels can contribute to posture imbalance. Do not read or watch movies while on the bed as this leads into constant tightening of muscles. Allow children to get more of outdoor activities. Too much of indoor activities that encourage too much sitting such as playing video games can cause a child to develop a poor posture. Do not let children to carry heavy bag packs to school as they can overtime stretch the muscles in the shoulders thus encouraging a crooked posture. Alternatively, buy them trolley bags.   By Rebecca Muthoni